#newspapers

Clay Shirky on the death of newspapers:

When the Tribune Company recently got rid of their newspapers, the New York Times ran the story under a headline “The Tribune Company’s publishing unit is being spun off, as the future of print remains unclear.”

The future of print remains what? Try to imagine a world where the future of print is unclear: Maybe 25 year olds will start demanding news from yesterday, delivered in an unshareable format once a day. Perhaps advertisers will decide “Click to buy” is for wimps. Mobile phones: could be a fad. After all, anything could happen with print. Hard to tell, really.

It is sort of humorous/sad how reluctant most publications are to call the most obvious of spades a spade. You’d think there was bias or something.

Everyone is focusing on the fact that The New York Times bought The Globe for $1.1 billion in 1993 and has now sold it for just $70 million two decades later — but what about the fact that the sale also includes the Telegram and Gazette, which The Times bought for $295 million in 1999?

Yes, The Globe is being sold for far less than The Times paid for the Telegram & the Gazette. And yes, the sale price now includes those two as well. It’s just a stunning loss of value all around.

Matthew Yglesias:

Like everyone else I’ve seen the headlines remarking on the fact that a New York Times Company which bought The Boston Globe for over a billion dollars is selling it this weekend for just $70 million. But if you read the body text of those articles you’ll see that the paper actually sold for much less than $70 million. It in fact sold for a negative quantity of money.

That’s because the terms under which John Henry is buying the paper stick the New York Times Company with the Globe’s pension obligations, which are said to amount to around $110 million. Which is to say that the worth of the overall Globe enterprise is negative $40 million, not $70 million.

Yikes.